History - Notable People Living Here
Derby Road has a link with the Guide Dogs for the Blind movement based at Burghfield. The first guide dog trainer in Britain was Mr. Nikolai Liakhoff - and he was bought 31 Derby Road in 1954 as a retirement present in recognition of the contribution he had made since 1933.
Nikolai was born in Odessa, Russia in 1897, served as a Cossack guard winning an award for bravery in the First World War and eventually forced to evacuate the Crimea in late 1920 to Istanbul – or Constantinople as its name was in those days. There he met and married a Russian Princess – Irena Ourousoff in 1925 and took various jobs around Europe before settling in Switzerland working for a wealthy American Mrs. Doris Eustis; who bred and trained German Shepard dogs there and in America for guiding blind people...............
...............The 1929 Wall Street crash led to the Swiss training school closing and Liakhoff with a choice of moving to America or Britain as a permanent dog trainer. He chose the latter because it is said he preferred to live in a monarchy – he was awarded an MBE in 1953 for his guide dog training work.
Miss Muriel Crooke – an Alsatian enthusiast – launched the British guide dog movement in 1930 (Officially Founded 1931) and approached well-known and respected Mrs. Doris Eustis for help. Nikolai Liakhoff arrived in England in October 1933 to take up the guide dog training post with only 18 months dog training experience, however he quickly won the organising committee's confidence. Please refer to ‘Another Pair of Eyes’ by Peter Ireson for the detailed early story of the Guide Dogs for the Blind movement.
|Guide Dogs for the Blind © Please note that all photographs of Nikolai Liakhoff are the property of GDFB History of Guide Dogs for the Blind movement in UK|